64 bodies of Manipur strife victims airlifted to three districts for performing last rites
Imphal: Over seven months after the unceasing ethnic strife broke out in Manipur, the government on Thursday airlifted 64 bodies of the conflict victims to three districts - Churachandpur , Kangpokpi and Imphal - from the mortuaries under tight security for performing last rites by the bereaved families.
This followed a Supreme Court ruling passed on November 28, asking for dignified burial or cremation of all those killed in the in the violence, including 88 bodies identified, but not claimed by their respective families by December 11.
Of the total 60 bodies that of Kuki-Zo tribes, which were lying at the mortuaries of the Regional Institute of Medical Sciences (RIMS) in Imphal West and JNIMS in Imphal East, 41 were air lifted to Churachandpur and the remaining 19 to Kangpokpi, official sources said.
The police, in the wee hours of Thursday, transported bodies from JNIMS and RIMS mortuaries and kept at the complex of the headquarters of Inspector General of Assam Rifles ( South) at Mantripukhri here before they were flown to Churachandpur and Kangpokpoi in several sorties.
The bodies that of four Meiteis that were kept at Churachandpur mortuary were also airlifted to the rifles complex from where the police took and handed over to the respective families for performing the last rites.
They have been identified as Pichimayum Ibochou (50) of Sabungkhok in Imphal East, Soibam Othello Singh (45) of Sagolband Heinoubok in Imphal West , Kshetrimayum Sunilkumar (22) of Kumbi in Bishnupur and Abujam Ibemhal (65) of Khuga Tampak of Churachandpur.
According to a report submitted by the state government to the apex court, 175 people were killed in the ethnic conflict, and of them 169 were identified. Out of the identified bodies, 81 were handed over to the families.
Before the 41 bodies were airlifted to Churachandpur, 24 bodies that of Kuki-Zo were already lying at the mortuary of the district. Civil bodies and the bereaved families had refused to claim them till the bodies lying at Imphal morgues were brought there.
As Ibochou’s body has not been taken by the family, the government has deposited it at JNIMS mortuary.
Abujam Premita, daughter-in-law of deceased Ibemhal said the last rites of the latter were performed in Bishnupur district neighboring Churachandpur.
Premita, whose house at Churachandpur Khuga Tampak was torched by Kuki miscreants on May 3, the day on which the conflict unfolded, said her mother-in-law , piggy bagged by one of the her relatives, stumbled many times and got hurt when they rushed out their lives.
“While we, including me, my two daughters and some of our locals ran in one direction, my mother-in-law with my relative moved towards another direction and later my mother-in-law was evacuated to an AR camp there,” Premita said.
“In the next morning on May 4, we were also evacuated to the same camp where my mother-in-law breathed her last,” said Premita who along with her daughters and other are presently taking refuge up at a relief camp at the Loukoipat area.
“Around 2.30 pm today, the police handed over the body of my mother-in-law, and soon after we conducted her last rites at a nearby crematorium,” said Premita.